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Common Skin Ailments in Scottish Terriers

| Updated September 26, 2017

The Scottish terrier nicknamed the "Scottie," is a wire-haired terrier that originated in the 18th century in Scotland and was commonly used to hunt vermin. The average weight of the Scottie is between 18 and 22 pounds. The Scottie is a small dog who has a height of approximately nine to 10 inches tall. Scotties live for 11 to 13 years with proper diet, exercise and veterinary care. A common problem with Scotties are skin problems, from allergies to diseases. Be prepared to care for these skin conditions if you are looking to own a Scottie.


Allergies in Scottish terriers are quite common. Often the allergy comes from the Scottie's diet, however, allergies can be environmental. The dog may be allergic to grass, dust or even carpet fiber. Scotties are sensitive to food and their surroundings. Allergies lead to fur loss, open wounds and infection from scratching and biting, and an uncomfortable feeling of warm skin for the dog. Symptoms of allergies are biting, red blotchy skin, hives and uncontrollable scratching. A veterinarian can test the Scottie for food allergies. Food allergies require a change in diet, often to an allergen-free food. Environmental factors can be treated with antihistamines, creams, sprays and special shampoos.

Demodectic Mange

The mite parasite Demodex Canis is responsible for Demodectic Mange. Demodectic Mange is also referred to as Red Mange. The parasite invades the dog’s skin and rapidly multiplies. The parasite burrows under the skin feeding on dead skin cells and blood. Symptoms of mange include red, blotchy, crusty skin, bald spots and constant itching and chewing. If left untreated, mange affects the immune system of the dog and the mites begin to infect large areas of the body. Mange can be detected at a veterinarian's office by performing a skin scrape. A veterinarian will take a sample scraping of the skin cells and blood and look at it under a microscope to determine if mites are present. Treatments include antibiotic shots, antibiotic medications taken at home, topical medications and prescription shampoo.


Sarcopic mites cause scabies. Scabies is transmittable to humans and other pets. A Scottie's dry skin and thick fur provide a perfect breeding grounds for sarcopic mites. The sarcopic mite burrows tunnels in the skin of the Scottie and causes intense pain, burning and itching. Symptoms include uncontrollable itching, puss-filled lesions, red, crusty skin and bald patches. Touching the infected area will cause the dog to move his hind leg involuntarily. Scabies is detrimental to the Scottie, resulting in self-mutilation if left untreated. Veterinary treatment includes a sample skin scraping and identification of the mite. Treatment is anti-inflammatory steroid shots, steroid medications, antibiotic shots, antibiotic medication in the form of pills, sprays and creams and weekly use of specially prescribed shampoos. Follow ups with the veterinarian for continued monitoring, testing and shots are often required.


Hypothyroidism causes dry skin and hair loss. Chronic skin infections occur from the Scottie scratching and biting. Hypothyroidism happens because of an under-active thyroid gland which causes little hormone production. The immune system starts to attack the thyroid causing the dog to become symptomatic. Hypothyroidism symptoms include a dog that appears depressed, lethargic and gains weight rapidly, along with dry, itchy, flaky skin and hair loss. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with Prednisone injections as well as daily Prednisone pills prescribed by the veterinarian.